India and Australia: Will the G20 Summit Act as a Catalyst of Change?

  • India and Australia pushing for a free trade pact. Comes after years of political and economic impasse.
  • Trade between India and Australia stands at around $15.2 billion a year.
  • Australia also recently removed the long standing ban on exporting uranium to India.
  • The countries are also seeking closure on the civil nuclear agreement which has been 2 years in the making.

India and Australia: Understanding the Economic Ties

It has been 28 years since the last Indian head of government paid a visit to Australia. In marked contrast, most Australian prime ministers have visited India at least once during their tenure since 1972. India-Australia ties to say in the least has not been economically viable. In 2013, India’s trade with Australia was the lowest in 5 years, approximately around $15.2 billion. Things are going to radically change with the 15

It has been 28 years since the last Indian head of government paid a visit to Australia. In marked contrast, most Australian prime ministers have visited India at least once during their tenure since 1972. India-Australia ties to say in the least has not been economically viable. In 2013, India’s trade with Australia was the lowest in 5 years, approximately around $15.2 billion. Things are going to radically change with the 15th Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia.

India-Australia push for free trade deal

Australia is the second largest exporter of coal given it has the fourth largest reserves in the world. The country is also the second largest producer of iron ore and third largest producer of uranium. Just what a coal and power deficit India requires. After finalising a landmark free deal with China, Australia is looking to make another landmark deal with India. Narendra Modi and Tony Abbott are looking to fast-track the negotiations in a bid to have it finalised by the end of 2015. “By the end of next year we will have a free trade deal with what is potentially the world`s largest market,” he said, adding that both leaders “will make it happen”. We want to go further and that’s why the next priority for Australia is a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India. If I may say so, this is a moment in time. This is the time to get this done,” Abbott said about the deal. Narendra Modi was of the same opinion. In a wide-ranging speech, he said, “Australia will not be at the periphery of our vision, but at the centre of our thoughts. We have agreed to speed up negotiations on the comprehensive economic partnership agreement. India and Australia have a great economic synergy. There are huge opportunities for a partnership in every area we can think of — agriculture, resources, energy, finance, infrastructure, education and science and technology,” he said.

Australia is the second largest exporter of coal given it has the fourth largest reserves in the world. The country is also the second largest producer of iron ore and third largest producer of uranium. Just what a coal and power deficit India requires. After finalising a landmark free deal with China, Australia is looking to make another landmark deal with India. Narendra Modi and Tony Abbott are looking to fast-track the negotiations in a bid to have it finalised by the end of 2015. “By the end of next year we will have a free trade deal with what is potentially the world`s largest market,” he said, adding that both leaders “will make it happen”. We want to go further and that’s why the next priority for Australia is a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India. If I may say so, this is a moment in time. This is the time to get this done,” Abbott said about the deal. Narendra Modi was of the same opinion. In a wide-ranging speech, he said, “Australia will not be at the periphery of our vision, but at the centre of our thoughts. We have agreed to speed up negotiations on the comprehensive economic partnership agreement. India and Australia have a great economic synergy. There are huge opportunities for a partnership in every area we can think of — agriculture, resources, energy, finance, infrastructure, education and science and technology,” he said.

India-Australia civil nuclear agreement

The Prime Minister of India is also seeking early closure on the civil nuclear agreement, which will give Australia an opportunity to participate in one of the most secure and safe nuclear energy programme in the world. The civil nuclear deal which was sealed in September will also offer increased supplies of conventional fuel to help tackle chronic shortages. The civil nuclear agreement has been in the pipeline since the last two years after the long-standing ban on selling uranium to India was lifted. Modi is currently in Australia for the G20 summit.

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